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From Jan-Apr, watch what teams DO – don’t listen to what they SAY

January 31, 2014

The draft “silly season” has started & some prognosticators are already predicting crazy things, such as “Houston might not take a QB #1 overall!”

Let me tell you a story that will teach you how to predict the draft better than about 80% of the sports media.

Flashback to the fall of 2011.  

5e371227-7882-45ba-ac02-a5c9d6250716The Minnesota Vikings released their starting left tackle, Bryant McKinnie.  He had, um, “issues” with his weight and the team moved Charlie Johnson to that position.  He was serviceable enough, but at the end of the 2011 season they announced they were moving him to left guard.  Free agency came & went & they didn’t sign a left tackle.

So, prior to the draft, the Vikings had no left tackle on their roster.

Repeat.  The Vikings had no left tackle on their roster.

And as it turned out, they held the #3 overall pick in that draft, where blue chipper Matt Kalil was projected around that spot and was the only truly elite left tackle on the board.

Remember, picks #1 & #2 in that draft were decided long before draft night:  Andrew Luck & Robert Griffin III.  So, at #3, the Vikings were sitting pretty.  Seems pretty obvious, right?  They just took a QB in 2011 (Christian Ponder) and last I checked, a solid left tackle was a pretty important spot.

Yet, I remember very clearly in the days/weeks before the draft, talking heads projecting the Vikings taking a defensive back, or some other position.  Do these people even look at the rosters of these teams before making these predictions?  I called into Sirius/XM Radio to one of their morning shows & told the host this little tidbit – that the Vikings had no left tackle on the roster, while they weren’t all that bad at cornerback.  The guy dismissed me, saying DB is a need.

Sure enough, come April 26, 2012, not only did the Vikings take Matt Kalil, but they actually were able to hoodwink the Browns into trading up a pick to get Trent Richardson.  So the Vikings traded back 1 selection, got the guy they wanted, AND 3 additional picks (a 4th, 5th, and 7th).  Credit GM Rick Spielman for that swindle.

Bottom line:  don’t look at any mock drafts right now.  Wait until free agency in March & watch what positions teams address.  THEN make an educated guess.

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From → NFL Draft, Sports

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